Tuesday, December 20, 2005

COFFEE: The Wardman Park Starbucks

I GUESS I MAY BE DOING Jerry and Jacinda a favor here (they haven't documented a visit to the Wardman Park Starbucks yet on their D.C. crosstown Seattle-based coffee franchise journey), but that's just fine. After nearly living a year directly across the street from the Wardman Park Marriott (at left), I hadn't stepped foot inside the hotel's Starbucks outpost until this morning. It's certainly closer than the Starbucks across from the National Zoo and I was certain that the service there had to be better than Woodley Park's other frown-worthy coffee place, the International Cafe.

So armed with a holiday party-issued Starbucks card, I ventured across Woodley Road, and up the driveway to the Wardman Park. It looks like a Starbucks, but it isn't a real Starbucks, but a "franchised" location, a barista told me.

That means they don't accept any Starbucks cards, don't serve breakfast sandwiches, don't have a Washington Post/New York Times stand and probably don't have wi-fi (I forgot to ask).

So how much did I pay for the pleasure of not having regular Starbucks features? For a large plain coffee and a chocolate croissant: $5.75. (But I guess I should have expected that for a hotel.)

If any other coffee chain knew about the competitive advantage they would have setting up shop near the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Metrorail station ... How many fantastically mediocre hotel-focused ethnic restaurants are there on the Connecticut Avenue strip? We could stand to lose at least one in the name of a better, quick coffee option.


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